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# 243539 17-Dec-2018 08:46
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Hi everyone,

 

I'm 41 years old, i've been a stay at home Mum for many years. I've always been interested in computers, and have been on code academy learning some python. I'm interested in studying the new bachelor of information technology at whitireia, which will mean i will be heading for 45 when I finish.

 

I have been trying to research around the career prospects in IT, and so far i'm not seeing a lot of positive information about graduates finding jobs, and that there is ageism in the industry, as well as nothing on the job sites unless you have 2-3 years experience. As well as hundreds of graduates competing for jobs and internships.

 

It's a big loan to take on, on top of the loan I have for a BA 15 years ago - never used it, it was languages, pretty much a waste of time if i'm honest. Am I too 'old' and would it be a waste of my time to study. Is there likely in all honesty to be an opportunity for someone like me afterwards, or am I looking at a minimum wage job with not much prospects and a huge loan? Any advice greatly appreciated. 


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  # 2146394 17-Dec-2018 08:54
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Never too old in my opinion.  To get around the things you've mentioned (ageism - which is a real thing I've seen), you can join industry bodies like IT Professionals NZ and start networking with people that are already in the industry, maybe even find a mentor.  The stronger your network is, the easier things will be when it comes time to finding a job.  It will also strengthen your understanding of industry concepts by talking to other people which will make you sound more competent when it comes to interviewing.  

 

I normally wouldn't advise someone to specialise in a particular aspect of IT until they've worked for a while, but given your age you'll be wanting a return on your investment pretty quick, so start thinking about areas that are of particular interest to you and research those to see if it's something you'd like to specialise in.  That will help you target a specific role when you get out of study.  


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  # 2146395 17-Dec-2018 08:59
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No you are not. I entered IT in my 40s and when I finished work in my 50s for medical reasons I was an it Manager. If you want it go for it.




Mike
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  # 2146396 17-Dec-2018 08:59
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From my perspective as a small employer, younger workers are more mobile.  Older workers are both more settled and understand that ageism is a risk they face when changing jobs or being made redundant and having to job hunt.

 

My first hire this year was a guy in his 40's who had a strong interest in IT and looked after most of his previous employer's IT for a couple of years.  I'd definitely not trade him in for a younger or more qualified model, but of course attitude is a good chunk of this.

 

What sort of IT are you interested in?  Programming?  Helpdesk?  Dispatcher for an IT Services company?  On the road support technician?  I would *guess* that as a woman in IT, you are something of a unicorn and your CV would float a little closer to the top of the pile.

 

You can make some pretty good pocket change fixing neighbourhood computers from home, if you can make some space to do so.





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  # 2146399 17-Dec-2018 09:08
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Provided you have a strong interest in the technology, have basic foundation knowledge, are willing & able to learn and maintain the pace of the industry then no you're not too old to enter the tech industry - however you will have to factor in up to 2 years to initially get up to speed & productivity.

 

Getting a tech "job" on the other hand may be more difficult for someone older with no experience vs someone younger. You may be better off targeting a niche that you can contract in and/or start your own business.

 

I'd highly advise against another degree. I'd be far cheaper and more efficient targeting investing in particular industry certifications / training relevant to your chosen field and/or online courses like you've done at Code Academy or even YouTube.

 

What are your specific interests, experience and marketable skills?

 

Are you social media savvy? There are opportunities and plenty of online resources around managing social media, online marketing etc.

 

Likewise if you're wanting to continue with programming or app development there are plenty of online resources and contract opportunities; you just have to jump in and start building up your portfolio of projects.


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  # 2146400 17-Dec-2018 09:15
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Oh something I forgot to add, at 41 and having regard to changing age of retirement you have a potential 35 years years employment in you, any prospective employer who cannot see that is an idiot and you should move on to better ground.





Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

There is no planet B

 

 


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  # 2146402 17-Dec-2018 09:18
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GreenApples:

 

I have been trying to research around the career prospects in IT, and so far i'm not seeing a lot of positive information about graduates finding jobs, and that there is ageism in the industry, as well as nothing on the job sites unless you have 2-3 years experience.

 

 

Most job descriptions will call for 1-3 years experience in a similar role. Don't stress too much about this if you can show strengths in the area in which you are seeking employment. Unfortunately, the IT recuitment industry is full of cowboys, and they just want to shuffle people from one job to another with the same job title so they can make a quick buck. The majority don't understand what we actually do - seventeen years in the industry, and I'm not even going to pretend I know what other IT people outside of my little niche actually do. Job titles tell you very little about what the role involves, particularly in development at the moment, with the widespread adoption of 'agile' and the new roles that brings.

 

It can be difficult to get your CV past a recruiter even if you do have significant relevant experience. Networking is the key. If you have the time, and are keen to continue coding, you could try to get an entry level support role part time with a software development company. If you can get in to a role where you work with development teams, there can be opportunities. If you're a good communicator, with knowledge of coding, there are definitely opportunities, even if your coding isn't to a senior level.




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  # 2146403 17-Dec-2018 09:18
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one of my problems is that I don't have work experience history. My biggest work experience was being a red cross volunteer helping refugees resettle for a couple of years. I don't have a history of transferable skills.

 

I have been a single Mum, and because of the ages of my children was unable to work also.  They are older now, so I would be able to. I did mention to someone at the polytech that I did have an interest in cyber security. He did say I would be competing with a lot of 20 somethings. He also said i could spend another year and go in to teaching which I don't want to do, as well as mentioned nursing - which I don't have an interest in doing. He said I could maybe go into data analysis.

 

I went through a lot of the jobs on seek just to see what is available in IT - very disheartening. Getting a foot in the door seems hard enough, and then you require 2-3 years work experience. Well by that stage i'll be heading for 50.

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  # 2146408 17-Dec-2018 09:27
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It's probably not going to be easy. At 45, most people in the industry have 20 - 25 years experience, which is a heck of a lot of background.

 

Should you do it? Probably. You might end up in entry level jobs like helpdesk, working your way up.

 

Instead of core technical I wonder if you could work in the IT area, without being a hands on technical person. Management, co-ordination, there are probably others.


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  # 2146441 17-Dec-2018 09:46
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I don't think you are too old. The question is really: what technological understanding can you offer? Python by itself may not be good enough, and I'd say the webdev market is overcrowded. But despite the hype (or maybe because of the hype), getting into AI or blockchain may be something, and if you really want to, you can pretty much gain intermediate status within a few weeks, because neither is rocket science. So I'd say: forget the age, get coding, watching videos/lectures, find good people to bounce questions off, and don't give up too easily — but do remain open to possibly changing the field if you perceive different demands.

 

 

It also depends a bit on what you want. A 9-5 job? Random gigs? A career path towards CTO?

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  # 2146475 17-Dec-2018 10:33
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GreenApples:

 

I don't have a history of transferable skills.

 

 

You'd be surprised what skills you have once you start wrapping some jargon around them.  I'd say given your parenting skills you'd be well suited to project management or business analysis.  I've seen a few mums enter the workforce as project admins and project coordinators and work their way up through the discipline from there, usually starting part time.


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  # 2146481 17-Dec-2018 10:48
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Amy

 

The tech industry is huge, and there are many opportunities out there. But you will come across everything rubbish about the world; ageism, skills, sexism and so on.

 

You mention you helped refugees resettle in NZ; that means knowing resources available, gathering information, calling agencies and advocating on peoples behalf. Telephone skills, diligence in details and confidence in dealing with people. At a minimum that means business analyst territory (unless you don't like that of course), which is about dealing with people, focusing on details and expressing information in forms suitable for the audience receiving it (such as a managers random warblings into something concrete a developer can build and a tester can test, measure and recommend.

 

The next piece is experience:

 

1. Signup for meetup.com, and start looking for group meetings in areas of interest. The cities in NZ are better for this (akl/wlg/ham/chc etc), but the smaller places have got some traction too.

 

2. Build some experience volunteering your time - there is no shortage of places needing help - and get work experience in there. Every hour, day and week counts.

 

3. Get some practise using Trello, Jira, Slack, Balsamiq and other similar tools available free on the web. This is the toolset for the next few years until the next thing replaces it

 

4. Don't give up, but also be real: experienced people have the advantage and confidence to push, but that's just a matter of time. Agencies and Seek take real time and effort to build up, so keep at it. Think of it from an agents viewpoint - inherently people are lazy, so having to work hard to get you a job paying $50/hr isn't exactly attractive when they can work to get someone $100/hr. So make it easy by building your skills and experience first, then hit them up

 

5. Hit up people you know and let them know your situation and what you want to do. It's so prevalent in NZ society not to ask for help finding work, so overcoming this and talking to people you know will be the hardest thing. It's comments like 'this is what I'm doing, can you keep an ear at work in case you hear something', and so on.

 

You also need to be very clear about what you want to do. "anything" won't help you :-)





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  # 2146483 17-Dec-2018 10:51
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gehenna:

 

GreenApples:

 

I don't have a history of transferable skills.

 

 

You'd be surprised what skills you have once you start wrapping some jargon around them.  I'd say given your parenting skills you'd be well suited to project management or business analysis.  I've seen a few mums enter the workforce as project admins and project coordinators and work their way up through the discipline from there, usually starting part time.

 

 

Snap!





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  # 2146513 17-Dec-2018 12:07
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There is a claim that there is a shortage of IT workers in NZ, so they have designed a new bachelor's degree through whitireia and weltec. But how overcrowded and oversaturated is the market really? I've read that hundreds will sign up for the graduate internships. I'd love to do it, but i'm concerned about the competition involved between myself vs younger graduates. It's a huge risk if I don't have any job prospects afterwards. 

 

 

 

 


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  # 2146518 17-Dec-2018 12:19
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One thing to be aware of is that IT is constantly changing, and you are always trying to keep up. 

 

As a mum, if I had realized that earlier I probably would have done something else! 

 

 

 

While my colleagues 'seem' to enjoy studying certifications late at night - I would rather be spending time with my kids. :)

 

 

 

I graduated BIT in 2005, and probably half of the graduates were in their 40's or older then. 

 

 


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  # 2146520 17-Dec-2018 12:29
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There's always news articles about shortages of skilled IT people, and how they're bringing people in from overseas. My opinion is that there's a shortage of people with the precise mix of skills required, in terms of using specific products, and employers often aren't willing to invest in people even if they have 90% of the skills required. Sometimes the people are available, and the employers don't want to pay what they're worth. So, in short, sometimes it seems like employers want to hire the perfect person for little money, without training, to do exactly the job they need. There's a big push on how soft skills are more important than technical skills. Communication is key - I wouldn't hire someone with perfect technical skills if their communication skills were below average, because communication is critical.

 

I also think being a Mum gives you a huge load of skills, particularly around time management, and if you can negotiate with an unreasonable, shouty toddler you're probably well prepared for working in government ;)

 

Doing a mulit-year technical degree is a risk, because getting a core technical job may take some time. As I said above, I wonder if working outside the core tech roles would be better, project management, project admin, co-ordination, something like that.


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